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General News of Sunday, 27 December 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Make voting compulsory in Ghana - Australian High Commissioner suggests

Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Gregory Andrews Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Gregory Andrews

The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Gregory Andrews, has suggested that Ghana and other countries adopt a policy that place more emphasis on elections; as practiced in his home country.

According to him this would be a way of dealing with the issue of voter apathy during elections.

In an interaction with Pan African TV, he said making elections compulsory in several parts of the world will also ensure more inclusivity, particularly for some persons in the minority.

He said amongst other things that; “In Australia, we have mandatory voting so you get fined if you don’t vote so that 99 percent of the people vote. it is a good policy we would encourage other countries to take it up”.

In an attempt to give reasons, he added; “what mandatory voting does is that it makes sure that vulnerable people and disadvantaged people are included because generally what you observe in democracies is where mandatory voting doesn’t exist. The people who are least likely to vote are the people who are most marginalized and disadvantaged so it gives a strong voice to everyone in society and avoids distortions of different groups being overrepresented.”

Speaking on observations made by his country during Ghana’s elections Gregory Andrews said; “teamed up with the United Kingdom and with Canada to contribute to the election observations and my team reported that everything went really well and Ghana has one of the strongest and less reversed democracies in Africa…I think African countries should also be proud of themselves because three-quarter of Africa’s countries are democracies and there are a lot of places in the world where people have no right at all to choose who the government is in their country.”

“But here in Ghana what I noticed and what my election observation team noticed is how much Ghanaians love their democracies. I think seventy-eight seventy-nine percent voter turnout particularly, when voting is not compulsory here in Ghana is very impressive.”

Per data from the Electoral Commission of Ghana, the country recorded a 79 per cent voter turnout after the December 7 polls.

This was translated as a major improvement on the 2016 elections which had a turnout of 69.25 per cent.

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